The last “mom” post was in August, when she turned 99.
Not much has happened since, other than she keeps eating, drinking coffee and taking lots of naps. She’s having a hard time holding her head up as this is one of the effects of dementia – her brain is forgetting to tell her body what to do.
When I visit, I never know if she is going to be alert or have a sleepy day. The most recent visit was a sleepy day. I tried to wake her for lunch and coffee, but mom was having none of it. I learned she was awake the day before, when they had their Christmas party, so I suppose she wore herself out and needed to take Sunday off.
On Thanksgiving, however, mom was alert and we had an interesting conversation.
Let me preface this by saying that a few years ago, mom was focused on her purse. “Where’s my purse? What have you done with my purse? I need my purse! Someone stole money out of my purse! Call the police!” This went on for a while until I started telling mom that I had her purse at home and it was locked up and safe. She eventually believed me and dropped the subject.
So, Thanksgiving Day, I walked up to mom, who was sitting in the living room.
“Hello mom! Happy Thanksgiving!”
“Where’s my purse?”
(In my head, I said “Oh crap. Here we go again.”)
“I have your purse at home. For safekeeping.”
“I need my purse.”
“What for, mom?”
“I have to go to work.”
“It’s Thanksgiving, mom.”
“No, it’s not.”
“You don’t have to go to work.”
“Yes, I do.”
“It’s Thanksgiving, your day off.”
“No, I have to go to work.”
At this point, reason was not reasonable and diversion was necessary. I told mom that before she could go to work, she needed to eat a good lunch and have some coffee. Mom was good with that.
By the time she finished eating her meal and drinking two cups of coffee, the purse was forgotten.
Mom proceeded to tell me I had a younger brother and she had seven daughters. Wow, really? I can’t wait to tell my only brother. (There are no other sisters to tell.)
I’m positive mom was somehow blending one of her younger brothers and seven sisters into the mix since she often thinks I’m her sister and my brother is HER brother. It’s the way of dementia, the constant confusion and loss of reality.
A friend asked about mom at church on Sunday and I told her the Thanksgiving story. She laughed.
It’s really all I can do during these visits – smile and laugh at the bright spots. Hold mom’s hand. Rub her back. Watch her enjoy a cup of coffee. Leave her alone when she’s sleeping. Tell her I love her. There’s no point in self-pity or tears because it does neither of us any good. I’ve been at peace with mom’s dementia for some time because I know I can’t fix it. Every day she’s alive is a blessing in some way, so I embrace the time we have left together.
I believe I said that in the last “mom” post, but it bears repeating.
The working girl keeps going and I have to avoid mentioning her purse.
As for the extra brother and six sisters, I only hope mom hasn’t been keeping secrets from us. 😉